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Heisenberg uncertainty for noob

  1. Jul 5, 2013 #1
    Hey guys, I saw a joke about this in the jokes thread. So I went to see what it is exactly. But the thing is I didn't understand it fully. Could anyone please simplify and comprehend to me?
    Also I saw that it's only for particles. What is the importance of this theory. I hope non complicated answers, cause I don't have deep knowledge in maths yet.

    Thank you for your time. It's a merit for you :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    These are very broad, vague questions. It would help if you did a little research e.g. on Wikipedia, and then come back with more specific questions. You shouldn't expect us to try to write the equivalent of a textbook chapter or Wiki page.
  4. Jul 5, 2013 #3
    edit: While I agree with jtbell, I was so mislead by Wiki [see below] and this is such
    a misunderstood problem....I'll try to help.

    Synopsis: Here is my own summary explanation based on half a dozen or so discussions in these forums.... If you search HUP in these forums you can rummage through many pages of disagreements and clarifications. The quotes below are slightly edited posts [for brevity, clarity] from those discussions. [I had no idea what HUP really meant until arguments/discussions/and some research papers were dissected inthese forums.]

    You may frequently see explanations as this one from Wikipedia under UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE.

    As far as I am concerned at least very misleading [ IT may be how Heisenberg started out, but he later came, I think, to the view below.] Get a better instrument and you'll get better results.

    A reasonable one line explanation: In classical mechanics we can predict with absolute precision, to arbitrary accuracy, the future position and momentum [for example] of a single particle; The HUP says no you can't!

    Ques: Is it possible to simultaneously measure the position and momentum of a single particle to arbitrarily fine precision.

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
  5. Jul 5, 2013 #4
    Band: So are you gonna tell us the joke or what??
  6. Jul 6, 2013 #5
    Joke is this, cant remember it clearly though.
    Teacher ask student where is ur home work.
    Student according to hup home work book is moving with x ms-1 and i dont know the position
  7. Jul 7, 2013 #6
    Heisenberg is driving his car. A cop pulled him over and asked him: "Do you know how fast you were going?" He replied: "No, but I knew were I was, now I'm totally lost."
  8. Jul 7, 2013 #7
    The cop proceeds to check Heisenberg his car. He goes to Heisenberg and says: "Did you know that there's a dead cat in the trunk of your car?" He replied: "Well, now there is, thanks a lot"
  9. Jul 7, 2013 #8
    Heisenberg was an unfortunate fellow; he knew exactly how fast his car keys were going.
  10. Jul 7, 2013 #9


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    Sign in the athletic dept John: "Kilroy was here !"

    Sign in the physics dept John" "Heisenberg may have been here".
  11. Jul 11, 2013 #10


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    :rofl: Simply excellent.
  12. Jul 11, 2013 #11
    That is witty, I will be stealing this joke.

    I seem to always know exactly how fast my TV remote is moving.
  13. Jul 11, 2013 #12


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    Bandarigoda, here is a nice clip demonstrating the uncertainty principle. (I picked it up from another PF member, I don't remember who, and I've reused it a couple of times in other threads).

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
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